About this project
The time has finally come for me to record my first album!
I'm grateful to be working with the very gifted Tita Lima as my Producer on this project close to my heart. Musicians here in Los Angeles, as well as in Sao Paolo Brazil (thanks to file sharing technology) are sharing their time and skills to enhance this EP, an album we are striving to make the first of its kind - crafting a unique sound fusing my minimal style of Acoustic/Folk/Soul with Tita's South American background and world rhythm sensibilities. Music and lyrics to change your mood, to get us moving but also to slow us down and to reflect on life and love. Love from below and from above, hence the albums' release title "Vertical Love."
We're thrilled to be able to invite the global community along on our journey to help take this project through to it's completion and beyond so that we can give it back to the world.
I've answered thoughts to frequently asked questions [FAQ below] which will tell you more about me, my musical journey and my vision for this project and onward.
Thank you kindly for stopping by,
Mataji B. ♥
I started writing and singing songs late in life and unexpectedly, somewhere close to my 22nd birthday. I had NO idea prior that there was this dormant talent inside of me. My initiation into creating music was born out of a painful desperation to heal from my first real broken heart. I'd moved to London to pursue modeling all on my own, met my first love, and had my heart broken for the first time. I moved back home to LA to lick my wounds and to my surprise I started crafting songs to help me deal with the experience in a positive way. I did this by plucking notes on the bass string of an acoustic guitar. I had no idea that I could sing, and believe me I didn't exactly sound like I do now! At first I had a couple of friends try to sing the songs instead. To my frustration, I quickly realized that no one could sing these songs but me. By then I'd had so many songs that I knew that this was something bigger than me and that at some point I would have to share them with the world
It took me a year to get the courage to sing in front of another person. My first audience was my dad, my kid brother and his wife. I had to sing with my back to them. My voice and hands were shaky as i played my one string on the guitar. Soon I got the balls to finally go to an open mic. It got easier each time. Soon after I started booking small shows at places like the Rainbow Room, the Whiskey and small lounge bars. I just started singing and never looked back. That was nearly 15 years ago.
It's been an incredible process finding my self as an artist since then.
Well - a lot of things happen in 15 years! For one I left an uneventful stint at Santa Monica College at an invitation to go on tour with and later join the Lula Washington Dance Theater. Soon after I began a career in acting and modeling and eventually I left the dance world to pursue my music and the jobs in front of the camera. As a young woman without a mentor, I entered into the entertainment industry with all heart and no business experience. I was intimidated by all of it and felt really out of place. I also became aware of the horrifying possibility of becoming a pop star and being at the mercy of a record label that would dilute my music, talent, identity and my bank account! I was always in conflict with the idea of putting my self and my music out into the world that way, especially since I was still trying to find out who I was in my 20's. Plus I was fighting demons of my own with drugs and alcohol. Eventually I ditched Hollywood completely and became a happy vagabond. I had a passion for seeing the world and felt the need to get out of my comfort zone - along the way I discovered and developed my vocal style and continued growing in skill on the guitar, keys and accordien . I've lived and played music everywhere from Mexico, NYC, Japan, Spain and Italy.
After my most recent (and longest stint) away from home in LA, I was in my early 30's and realized that it might be time to finally start to grow roots somewhere, live a more stable life and really meditate on how I wanted my life to look like for the next chapter of my life. I wasn't sure where music or the arts fit into my life since I'd really lived up to the whole starving artist thing and had nothing to show for for it except a ton of real life experience, an artistic sponsorship from Element Eden (the female clothing line for Element Skateboards) made an awesome music video in Barcelona, performed live on Italian TV twice and had some interesting un-mastered home recordings up on myspace. I knew it wouldn't be easy, so I wanted to make sure it would be worth the hard work I knew it would take.
Through a gracious turn of events, I ended up working with teenage girls for four amazing years through the Step Up Women's Network and it changed everything for me. I was inactive myself as an artist, but I was passing on to them what I'd learned, teaching them poetry, drama, film and using all of it to help build their confidence! - guiding them to perform on stage for the first time, there was nothing more fulfilling and rewarding than that. I got to be the mentor that I never had and was surrounded by inspiring, powerful women from all walks of life and in every age group. I saw that by following my dreams and walking through all of the obstacles of my past, like losing my mother to Cancer at 13, I could make a difference in people's lives. Especially young women. They would ask me to sing in class, and when I saw how important it was for them to see me make music again and share it with the world, I remembered how my gifts are so much bigger than me. How allowing my light to shine could help others do the same. I found joy and inspiration for creating music again, which for me is key to doing it in the first place.
The hiatus was also great because I made time to take my first guitar class (at 34!) and take the needed time to build a more purpose driven vision for my music career. I knew that this time around I wanted to do it professionally, so I was in no rush to find the right musicians and producer to work with, I let it happen organically and in the meantime began doing some thing I'd never done which was to spend time every day working on my craft! In April earlier this year, I got hold of a new guitar to work with and started playing chords for the first time rather than plucking and picking and it really changed the song writing process. Now comfortable in my own skin, I also started to believe that if my heart and intentions are in the right place, I could step into the music industry with Grace and not have to be afraid of the darker aspects of it.
Though I dabbled in violin, accordion and piano as a young person, I was always made to choose between music classes and dance at the performing arts magnet schools I was lucky to attend (32nd St. USC Magnet and Hamilton High). I was a natural performer, but I never saw myself as a musician though I was around music (my father is an amazing self taught guitar player and songwriter) I've always been a musical being ( I danced from age 3 onward, eventually professionally until I retired at the age of 24) and I wrote poetry starting at the age of 17.
The actual cost of this album is close to $8,000 when it's all said and done.Thanks to the internet and outlets like Kickstarter, I'm able to pay my producer for her time and for arranging everything from the music to bringing in amazing musicians and mixing and mastering engineers that have worked with grammy winning recording artist's to truly take this album to the level where we all know it should be. Studio time is another cost of course. Kickstarter and Amazon takes a cut, as they should or else we wouldn't be able to do any of this :) And last but really the icing on the cake for me is - the budget which includes the means to produce all of the rewards granted to all of you awesome backers! CD production, album cover design and printing, packaging and the mailing of CD's around the globe - making the music video for Gypsy that you get to participate in that will help to promote the album, and the awesome record release party in October. It feels so great to be able to pay people what they are worth to make this the most successful and quality product possible!
It's always been my passion to perform on stage and to connect with people through the healing power of the performing arts. It's where and when I feel most alive - I actually feel fire running through my veins on stage! - To finally be ready to take that leap of faith and to put myself out there, it's really empowering. I plan to distribute the album and retain as much creative control as possible in the process....and I see lots of touring ahead. It's what I believe and feel I'm called to do. It's what I look forward to the most, physically getting out there and sharing my music with the world. I have my sights first on touring parts of Europe as early as next summer, as well as Japan and Latin America - all places where I've made amazing connections and small but loyal fans over the years. Not to mention right here in the USA. I plan to continue to be a part of young people's lives, performing at schools and colleges and spreading the message of following through with your dreams and discovering and developing your God given talents, no matter how early or late in life, at any age. As a thriving artist I also want to dispell myths about what it is to be a successful human being, woman and creative person. I hope to inspire others to follow there path and bliss right through to manifestation. For me this is the best success one can obtain in life. To walk through the fear. The rest really does all fall into place after you make that choice. That's certainly been my experience this year!
The success of this campaign obviously would mean the world to me and all who've stood by patiently over the years waiting and watching for my music career to take bloom.
Support this project
- (30 days)